Gambling in the Philippines was defined legally in 1975 by then President Ferdinand Marcos, who also created PAGCOR, with the intention to license and regulate the gambling industry. In 1978, betting on sports was also legalized, with some harsh punishment for those who wager on those games without proper licensing.
As for gambling in online casinos in the Philippines, since 2017, it is not illegal to operate an online casino, including live casinos, but it is illegal to offer casino gambling activities to Filipino players when operating an online gambling site that resides within the nation's borders. However, Filipino players are allowed to access offshore casinos, which of course, must be licensed and regulated by a respected authority.
The legality of online gambling was confirmed when a court case from 2012 resulted in a ruling that verified the Philippines gambling laws, which state that it does not prohibit players from accessing and placing bets on an online gambling site. This means that all players from the Philippines can legally enjoy live casino gambling at sites that are licensed, regulated, and based outside of the Philippines.
Additionally, it is perfectly legal for Filipino players to access and wager at online gambling sites through a mobile device, as long as they are operated by a licensed and regulated offshore casino operator.
Regulation Laws and Authorities
Gambling at both land-based and online casinos, regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is a government organization that was created under a Presidential Decree. The role of PAGCOR is to oversee the Philippine gambling industry and restrain illegal gambling. Every casino operator that wants to operate legally in the Philippines, must hold a license from PAGCOR.
They have licensed around 70 online gambling operators within the country, but as we mentioned above, they are not permitted to offer gambling services to the residents of the country. Whilst Philippine residents are allowed to gamble online legally at licensed and regulated offshore gambling sites.
The most recent changes in the gambling laws in the Philippines were introduced in February 2017, which focused on strengthening the fight against illegal gambling activities in the country. It urged players to avoid gambling at state-licensed online casinos, and switch to playing at trusted offshore gambling sites.
Apart from PAGCOR, which regulates the majority of the gambling activities in the Philippines, there is also another authority named Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) that regulates the Cagayan Valley.
They also act as an online gambling licensing jurisdiction and are the only such jurisdiction in all of Asia. Their license is hard to get by a Filipino operator, as it is forbidden to accept wagers from Philippine residents. But CEZA's license will grant access to a much greater Asian gambling market.
Both organizations are following the same general gambling laws in the country and both regulate online casinos in their controlled region. However, it is up to them how they'll manage to control their respective region.